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Why And How To Change A Company Name

When running a business, you may encounter a situation where you need to change your company name – we explain why this might happen and how to do it

The most obvious reason for changing your company name is simply because you want to. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your original business name, or you’ve expanded into new areas and your existing brand doesn’t fit any more.

In other circumstances, you may find yourself legally required to change your company name.

The good news is that changing a company name is a fairly easy process that takes around five working days and costs in the region of £30.

There are two ways to action a voluntary change of name:

  • Pass a Special Resolution at a general meeting by at least 75% of the members entitled to vote
  • Pass a written Special Resolution by at least 75% of the members – there is no requirement to hold a meeting in this case

Once one of the above has been done, you can go online and submit the NM01 form to Companies House.

Changing Your Company Name As A Legal Requirement

Occasionally, a company may find itself in a position where it must change its name to adhere to the law. This can happen within 12 months of incorporation if there was an objection to it being too similar to an existing company name.

After five years of incorporation, a company can be asked to change its name as a legal requirement if misleading information was given at the time of registration, or an assurance given at the time of registration has not been fulfilled.

No matter how long a company has existed for, it may be asked to change its name by law if:

  • The name has been purposefully registered to obtain money or other considerations from the objector or only to prevent them registering the name
  • The name is likely to cause harm by misleading the public on the nature of the company
  • The company is no longer entitled to the exemption allowing it to omit “limited” as part of its name

Do you have a complaint regarding a company name?

If you believe a company name is misleading, implies a connection to an existing company name, or is "too like" your existing company name, you can make a complaint to the Company Names Tribunal at the Intellectual Property Office. 

Get your new business off to the best start. Make sure your company name complies with requirements and your application doesn’t get rejected.

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